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Young Ones to Watch: Lauren Wanamaker, Sr. Director of Development at WellBiz Brands, Inc.

1851 spoke with the young developer about her swift career growth, and why she loves the franchising industry.

This month, 1851 Franchise is highlighting some young, up-and-coming professionals in the franchise industry. Lauren Wanamaker, Senior Director of Development at WellBiz Brands, Inc., believes passion drives the franchising industry.

1851 Franchise: How did you get into franchising?

Lauren Wanamaker: I graduated from college with a degree in marketing and public relations and went to go work at Bark Busters, an in home dog training franchise. It was my first big girl job. I worked mostly in a marketing and PR capacity with them, but eventually moved over to the franchise development side of things. After the switch, I never left. I’ve been through a few concepts over the years, and if it’s taught me anything, it's that I absolutely love franchise development. 

1851: What do you love about the industry? 

Wanamaker: I’m at such a great spot with Wellbiz and Amazing Lash; it’s such a great brand. More broadly, what I love about franchising is that the platform gives people a chance to create their own success. We help people to business ownership, and it’s a powerful thing. 

Specifically with Amazing Lash and what we call “under the franchising umbrella,” there is a passion in our franchisees to help women find a certain confidence inside of themselves. The aesthetic-driven service empowers them to do bigger and better things. From a franchise perspective, it’s rewarding to help people find their dream and what their passion within the industry is.

1851: What makes someone a good fit for the franchise industry? 

Wanamaker: I think it’s really unlike any other industry; what makes someone a good fit for franchise development, unlike any other industry, is that most successful franchise development professionals have a passion for helping people find and actualize their dreams. You definitely have to be a people person, and really have to be about relationships and connecting people together with different ideas. 

1851: Are there traits that are shared by the most successful franchise professionals you know?

Wanamaker: I think it is really just that ability to connect people — the “people person” type of person. I think people who are almost an entrepreneur in their own right can be really successful in this industry. Perhaps it's more passion than skill that makes people successful. 

1851: How do you feel about the industry's response to the COVID-19 crisis so far? Are there challenges or opportunities that the industry still needs to address?

Wanamaker: I think it's been incredibly difficult to navigate, whether you're a franchisee or franchisor. People are doing what they can with the resources they have. Franchisees and franchisors across the industry have been meeting each other halfway to make it through. 

I think additional resources could be put behind both franchisees and franchisors alike to return to the workforce and to help with the retention of their employees as well. Obviously it's difficult when businesses are ordered to shut down in respective states, so we as an industry need to come together to create better solutions for the future — especially when it comes to keeping customers and employees safe without destroying the business landscape.

1851: What advice do you have for other young up-and-comers in the space?

Wanamaker: I think this is the absolute best industry, it's just so much fun. There are so many great relationships in it. If you lead with what is truly best for the candidate, best for the franchisee, and best for the brand, everything else will fall into place. I think new franchise development professionals who start out on that journey look at it as a sales role, but really you're consulting individuals to find the best fit for them while also finding the best fit for the brand.